The Annual Enrollment Period
) or Annual Coordinated Election Period is when Medicare beneficiaries can add, change, or drop their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage for the next year. The AEP starts on October 15th and continues through December 7th of each year with coverage or plan changes taking effect on January 1st of the new year.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
) also provides an additional opportunity for people to change or drop their Medicare Advantage plan coverage (MA or MAPD
). The Medicare Advantage OEP begins January 1st and continues through March 31st with plan changes taking effect the first day of the month following the change.
As noted by Medicare, the MA-OEP allows people “enrolled in an MA plan, including newly MA-eligible individuals, to make a one-time election to go to another [Medicare Advantage] plan” - or to leave their Medicare Advantage plan, join a stand-alone Medicare Part D plan [PDP], and return to Original Medicare Part A and Part B. For example, an individual enrolled in an MA-PD plan may use the OEP to switch to: (1) another MA-PD plan; (2) an MA-only plan; or (3) Original Medicare with or without a PDP. The OEP will also allow an individual enrolled in an MA-only plan to switch to-- (1) another MA-only plan; (2) an MA-PD plan; or (3) Original Medicare with or without a PDP. However, this enrollment period does not allow for Part D changes for individuals enrolled in Original Medicare, including those with enrollment in stand-alone PDPs."
As a historical note:
Since 2005, a number of different terms have been used to describe the time each year when you can add, change, or drop your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage. In past years, you may have even seen the term, "annual Open Enrollment Period
" or "Medicare Open Enrollment
" used interchangeably with the Annual Election Period (AEP
) or Annual Coordinated Election Period describing the annual Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plan enrollment period starting October 15th and continuing through December 7th. After January 2019, please be sure to recognize the OEP
as the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (January 1st through March 31st) - not to be confused with the AEP
might find the annual Medicare enrollment period starting October 15th
through December 7th
described as the:
- Annual Enrollment Period,
- Annual Election Period,
- Annual Coordinated Election
- Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP),
- annual Open Enrollment Period,
- Fall Open Enrollment season, or
- Open Enrollment Period for
Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
the terms are all referring to the same enrollment period. The modern term used in the Medicare &
describing the annual enrollment period starting October 15th
continuing through December 7th
is: “Open Enrollment Period” for Medicare health and prescription drug plans.
The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Manual
calls this time of year the Annual Election Period (AEP).
"Beginning in 2011, the AEP is from October 15 through December 7 of every year. It is also
referred to as the 'Fall Open Enrollment' season and the 'Open Enrollment Period for Medicare
Advantage AND Medicare prescription drug coverage' in Medicare beneficiary publications and
other tools. Plan sponsors may use these descriptions of the AEP in their member materials as well
as in materials for prospective members."
During the annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP), Medicare beneficiaries can add, change, or drop their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage.
Changes in Medicare plan coverage during the AEP will take effect on January 1st of the next year.
After the close of the AEP, most people will only have a limited opportunity to change their Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage until the next AEP or Open Enrollment Period. See: What are the Medicare Part D Special Enrollment Periods (SEP)?
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will be granted a second opportunity to "drop" your Medicare Advantage plan during the annual Medicare Advantage plan Disenrollment Period (or MADP)
starting on January 1st and continuing through February 14th. The changes will become effective the first day of the month after disenrollment.
If you disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan, you will be returned to original Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B - and you will have an opportunity to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. (Here is a link to our Medicare Part D plan finder: PDP-Finder.com
Please note: We use the term annual Open Enrollment Period interchangeably with AEP (Annual Enrollment Period or Annual Coordinated Election Period). However, when you are enrolling in a Medicare plan using a paper application, you may see "AEP" as an enrollment period option - meaning the annual Open Enrollment Period. If you are enrolling between October 15th and December 7th, you will want to select "AEP" on your enrollment application as the enrollment period.
Here are a few terms related to AEP: IEP
, and SEP
You can click on the following link to learn more about Special Enrollment Periods: https://Q1FAQ.com/561.html
You can also click on the following link to learn more about how you "cancel
" or "drop
" or "disenroll
" from your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan: https://Q1FAQ.com/355.html